Earlier this year, Topps teased the fact that a short-printed variation in its 2010 Baseball set included Abraham Lincoln.
And thanks to a 33-year-old New York collector one card has been confirmed.
Rare versions of card No. 306 in the set has “Baseball Abe” and Lincoln’s face on the scoreboard — instead of the standard card’s “baseball notes” on the scoreboard behind a diving Milton Bradley.
Brian Lalonde said he discovered the card in a jumbo pack he bought at a Walmart in Ogdensburg, N.Y.
“There are only two of these known in existence as of right now,” Lalonde wrote in an email to Beckett Media on Thursday. “Mine and one other that I found online.
“I have contacted Topps and they assured me that it is a super-rare card and they will not give me any more information about it. They won’t give me a print run or anything. It seems that they are being very secretive.”
Topps and other card companies have produced unusual variation cards in several sets in recent years in an effort to add some fun factor and some chases that might draw in the typical non-collector. In this case, Topps is letting the collectors discover and chatter about their finds rather than say “they’re out there and there are this many.”
That, too, adds to the enigma of such unusual — and rare — cards.
Surely there will be more than two known copies of this card once collectors start digging through their 2010 Topps cards looking for the card of a slugger who didn’t exactly tear it up in The Windy City last year and who hasn’t had kind words for his time there, either, according to an ESPN interview this week.
But all that isn’t sparking Lalonde to sell off his new-found, albeit unusual, treasure.
“I am not sure what I am going to do with this card yet,” he said. “The collector in me many times overrides the investor. This seems to be a pretty special card and if it is what I hope it is, I plan to hang onto this card for a very long time.”
Update: At least three other Lincoln variation cards have since been confirmed. See the comments below.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.